NHL: Behind The Numbers – The Canucks’ Penalty Kill
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY THOMAS DRANCE

Over the past several seasons the Canucks’ have relied on their polished, effective special teams units. Its been a key feature of this club’s DNA, and a critical reason they’ve managed to win back-to-back President’s Trophies. Just in terms of their conversion rates, they’ve been a top-ten power-play club for three seasons and a top-ten penalty killing club for the past two.

If you’ve been paying attention you already know that, through 19 games this season, Vancouver’s special teams effectiveness has atrophied in a major way. The […]


NHL: Thursday Night Hockey
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY JEFF ANGUS

A busy Thursday night of NHL action sees the puck dropped on 11 games across the league. The Maple Leafs will be getting goaltender James Reimer back from the injured reserve. Pittsburgh remains without star center Evgeni Malkin (concussion), but he is making progress towards a return.

The Detroit Red Wings dropped a 2-1 decision in Los Angeles last night, and they travelled north after the game to San Jose, where they will face the Sharks tonight. And in Big D, Kari Lehtonen returns to the Dallas […]


NHL: 5 AHL Players To Watch Out For
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BY JEFF ANGUS

The American Hockey League is a fantastic developmental league. It is very rare that a top young prospect will play in the NHL without getting his feet wet professionally in the AHL (notable exceptions include Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos). Most young hockey players spend some time on an AHL team as a right of passage to the NHL.

And with the lockout of 2012, the AHL has been home to some fantastic hockey this season. Jordan Eberle, Justin Schultz, and the rest of the young Oilers […]


NHL: The Return of Booth and Kesler to the Canucks’ Roster
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BY THOMAS DRANCE

At beginning of this 2013 lockout shortened NHL campaign, the Canucks were short-handed due to a couple of injuries to their best two-way forwards Ryan Kesler and David Booth.

Now Ryan Kesler is a Selke winner well known for his defensive prowess, but few observers tend to think of David Booth as a two-way ace. But he is. Booth doesn’t kill penalties generally speaking, and isn’t a guy who often appears to be doing the hard work in his own end. Largely that’s because he doesn’t have […]


NHL: The Biggest Surprises of 2013 So Far
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY JEFF ANGUS

Many expected that the 2013 NHL season would bring about a lot of crazy and interesting news stories. Because the season is only 48 games long, the chances that luck or randomness factor in to the performance of a player or a team are a lot better than during a typical 82 game season.

Looking at the current scoring race, there aren’t really any surprise names at the top of the list. The top three scorers are arguably the top three players in hockey – Steven Stamkos, […]


NHL: How The Predators Are Overcoming Their Annual Roster Churn
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BY THOMAS DRANCE

Vancouver Canucks at Nashville Predators (-120, 5)

Like the Black Knight in Monty Python’s Holy Grail, the Predators keep on coming. For the small market franchise, for whatever reason, it doesn’t even seem to matter how horrific the damage inflicted on their roster by the annual offseason cleaving of talent.

Every summer, the Predators lose a high-profile player or two and are written off by hockey pundits and analysts. This summer the Predators suffered probably their biggest blow since they traded Tomas Vokoun, Scott Hartnell and Kimmo […]


NHL: Friday Five For 22 February
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY JEFF ANGUS 

In today’s instalment of the Friday Five, I take a look at Kevin Bieksa’s recent scoring exploits, why Lindy Ruff was a scapegoat in Buffalo, the best hockey movies of all time, and much more.

5. NEW SEASON, SAME RESULTS IN EDMONTON
Phoenix Coyotes at Edmonton Oilers (-120, 5)
2013 started with so much promise for the young Oilers. They were supposed to be one of the most exciting teams in the NHL. And things started really well – Nail Yakupov made an immediate impact with some […]


NHL: Canucks at Stars Preview
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BY JEFF ANGUS

Vancouver Canucks at Dallas Stars (+120, 5.5)

The Canucks head into Big D tonight looking for some revenge. The Stars, powered by a late third period tally from defenseman Brenden Dillon, surprised the Canucks for a 4-3 victory last Friday night at Rogers Arena. That game marked the first time in over three years (October 2009) that the Canucks lost a game in regulation at home after leading through two periods.

The Canucks are turning to Cory Schneider tonight, while the Stars will counter with Cristopher Nilstorp. […]


NHL: Quick Hits – Do Not Panic About The Canucks’ Defensive Issues
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY THOMAS DRANCE

To say that Vancouver’s defensive play was “permissive” against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night is a massive under-statement. It was, quite easily, the worst defensive performance the club has put in during a single game over the past three years, and of course the mood in Canuckistan is grim as a direct result. But before you go making Jason Garrison – and his positive possession play against tough opposition – a healthy scratch in favour of Cam Barker, you should probably take a deep breath.

There’s […]


NHL: Five Teams That Fans Love To Hate
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY JEFF ANGUS

There are a lot of reasons to dislike an NHL team – it could be because the team is a close rival of your favourite team. It could be that team is a very successful franchise and beats up on your team with consistency. That team’s roster may feature a player or two (or three) that you dislike. Whatever the reason, we all love to hate certain NHL franchises for a number of reasons. Here are five of the most hated teams in hockey (and in a […]